I wanna do a track day
Going to school
So, you're thinking about doing a track day. We think you should. There's really no reason, saving finances, why you shouldn't. It's much safer than the street, you can ride fast legally, and it's educational. Go sign up now.
Some beginning riders get track days confused with racing, which is natural. They both take place on a track, after all. But a good track day is like school; it's meant to help you become a better rider. In fact, as a beginning rider, you are a great candidate for track school. It will help you develop good habits before you learn bad ones.
We feel that you should go to a track school for your introduction to track riding, as opposed to just doing a loosely organized track day. You'll learn more, and will probably have a better time. Read this article and this one to give you an idea of what a well-run track school is like.
There are currently many choices in track schools. Along with the increase in motorcycle ownership in the past decade has come an increased interest in riding on a track. If you're anywhere close to an urban area you should be able to find a track within close proximity.
Finding a track school
Start local. Ask in your local riding club and at local shops. Once you find the track close to you, use their resources (phone, website) to find out what sort of track schools/days they have scheduled.
If you live in or close to CA, NV, or UT you can check out the Southwest track day listings. Other parts of the country should have a similar list. Search.
ROADRACING WORLD has a calendar of schools around the country. Scroll down past all the racing entries to the heading SCHOOLS & TRACK DAYS.
Non-school track days
If you decide to go to a track day, instead of a school, here are some general things to look for. The better organized it seems, the better your experience will likely be, unless of course you prefer chaos.
1. Multi-group, with Fastest, Fast-ish and Middlin' riders' groups. Good instructor/student ratio (1:8), good coverage of corner workers (every "dangerous" corner), two ambulances on site, sharp tech inspection, and comprehensive riders' meeting. Pros: Chance for 1-on-1 instruction, safe groupings, smart/trained corner workers. Cons: Mid-level cost, riders from other groups leeching into yours.
2. Open track, but with OK instructor/student ratio (1 Inst:12 Riders), some corner workers and one ambulance on site. Decent tech inspection, both bike and gear, and OK riders' meeting. Pros: Open track, decent price. Cons: Thrown in the pack of wolves; getting familiar with track riding could be intimidating. Corners may not be covered adequately to warn of troubles ahead.
3. Open track, a handful of untrained instructors, few corner workers, and no medical personnel on-site. Minimal bike and gear inspection w/flag-only riders' meeting. Not as uncommon as you might think. Pros: Cheap. Cons: Dangerous, w/zero n00b training; problems on course may not be noticed until it's "too late".